Almost 1,500 Irish students in third-level education, who receive state-funded grants are now choosing to study abroad rather than in Ireland, the Irish Times reports.
The State offer an Irish Maintenance grant to third-level students who wish to study in a publicly-funded university in an EU member state, pass the means test and want to study a course that has a duration of over two years.
Some 783 grant holders have decided to further their education in universities in the England, followed by Northern Ireland with 328 grant holders attending colleges there. This makes the UK the most popular EU state for Irish grant holders to study in.
The past number of years have seen an increase in the number of Irish grant holders attending universities in countries such as Hungary, Poland and the Netherlands. This is due to factors such as lowers costs, less challenging entry requirements, and the fact that they have higher ranking universities.
In 2015, Ireland’s highest ranking college, Trinity College Dublin, placed 78th in the world whereas the University of Cambridge in England was ranked at 3rd in the world in that same year.
While Ireland has ‘free fees’ for third-level education, the educational institutions require a €3,000 contribution fee while some universities, such as UCD, require a student centre levy of €247 as well.
Our EU counterparts pay less for their courses with some countries, such as Sweden, Norway and Finland, generally having free college tuition fees. The Netherlands are just under €2,000 and in German and Austrian states, fees tend to cost up to €1,500.
There are over 850 courses delivered through English throughout the EU. This means lectures, assignments and homework must be completed through the English language, making it easier for Irish students to engage with the material.